Quick and Easy Anchor System

CarolinaFireJournal - By David Pease,
By David Pease, The Reds Team
01/10/2015 -

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and is looking forward to the coming of warmer weather. Personally I am not much of a cold weather person and I’m looking forward to the spring myself. It’s a good time for training and working with our equipment, to become familiar and more proficient at what we do. I will have some good things to look at this year in the forthcoming issues.


I am a bit partial on this particular piece of equipment as I played a big role in its development. Since I do get to test and evaluate new equipment and evaluate equipment already out there, it gives me the opportunity to use my expertise in making things better for us in the rescue field. I have assisted Stearns with their original swiftwater drysuit, Tech Trade with some of their fire and rescue gloves, and many more. Since I do a lot of extrication classes I get a chance to use new techniques and use equipment that comes along to make our job easier and safer. This piece of equipment cannot only be used in extrication, but also in any type of rope work where a portable anchor may be used.

For years we have taught the old military picket system. You can do a single picket, double picket, or triple picket system. The two and three picket layout requires a tie back system and spinners. The three picket system would require three four foot pickets, two 25 feet body cords or similar, and two spinners for tightening the system. The other key is that the pickets should be driven in the ground at 15 to 20 degrees. The angle is always the biggest issue as well as consistent depth and alignment. The distance between the pickets should be equal to the length of the pickets. On a three-picket system this could give you a six-foot spread. The rating has also been a question of mine since the figures we use came from WWII. A single picket is rated at 700 pounds, a two-picket system is 1400 pounds and a three-picket system is 2000 pounds. What if you could drive two or three pickets in the ground and not use tiebacks, and get the maximum anchor capability, which is somewhat higher than the old tieback system? You can.

Utilizing a picket plate concept that Res- Q- Jack had in its catalog I was able to build on that very idea and develop the EZ-PZ picket plate. The plate measures 30 inches long and six inches wide. This gives you a 30-inch long footprint rather than a 72-inch footprint. The picket holes will accommodate one-inch pickets, along with two additional holes that will take up to a one and five-eighth inch picket. On one end is a “D” ring that is rated at over 10,000 pounds for attaching your webbing, rope or carabineer. The picket holes have a three-inch tube for not only receiving the picket, but also gives you the 15-degree angle on all three pickets. This also provides a stop for driving the picket into the ground. If you use the Rescue Jack four-foot long picket, it has a flange that sits 16 inches down the picket and can be driven to the top of the picket tubes in the plate.

The next big question is how strong is this system? We tested the plate as well as some of the Rescue Jack one and five-eighth inch pickets to see just how much they would hold. We tested the picket system to a point where it moved forward one-half inch, but it still did not go to failure. The system would actually take a greater load before it completely failed. The three-picket system in class A soil went to 5000 pounds before it moved. This can be seen in the picture with the dynamometer. We also tested the system in class B soil and it did not move until we reached 3500 pounds. Still need to test the system in class C soil, and that will come. The single large picket from Rescue Jack held over 3000 pounds as a single picket, which was more than the old style three picket system is rated.

This system provides a quick and easy way to anchor during vehicle extrication as well as other rope rescue situations where a portable anchor would be needed. It is also quick and simple to set up.

For more information on the EZ-PZ picket plate, contact Rescue Jack or visit their website at www.Res-q-jack.com. Just a note, I had nothing to do with the naming of the picket plate. Stay tuned for more good equipment to come. Remember, do your research and contact me anytime.

If you have any questions or comments, please shoot me an email at [email protected]. Until next time, train hard, be safe, and know your equipment.
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